Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Medicine making and miscelaneous

Avery meeting her new cousin Atticus Ezra.

 Noah is learning to play the pentatonic flute.
I played the flute in Highschool and have enjoyed learning how to play this simple flute. I've been thinking of learning to play a string instrument; something I can play and sing to at the same time. I've been smitten with ideas of playing the banjo this month, we'll see.
 
Noah has been very interested in beading lately. He has just been stringing small glass beads onto beading string and making bracelets. After spending a few years of my childhood in a Yup'ik village, I use to do a lot of beading. I'm looking forward to doing some beading projects alongside Noah as he is ready. 

I have been getting really exited about a lot of Noah's recent interests as they align with past interests of mine. He is fascinated by Native American History and pretty much any Indian skills, such as weapon making, bow hunting, beading, tanning and skin sewing. On the way to the library he specifically requested that we pick up some NON- Fiction books about Indians or boys that lived in the past. He has loved the first two books in the Little House in the Prairie series. We just started the book, Sign of the Beaver. He is not huge into arts and music, but working with his interests I think we'll be experimenting with making quills for writing out of geese feathers and possibly making paper. I think we may be doing some skin sewing this winter as well. And I'm wondering if I might have the ambition to make a pair of small moccasins over the coming winter nights.

When I was in high school, I was part of an Inter tribal drum group. In College I danced with the University Eskimo dance group. I minored in history, with my favorite classes about Colonial America and Native American History. And I minored in Yup'ik Eskimo. All things I don't usually write about, but you can see why I might be excited about my son's current interests.

Switching Gears Completely because there is so much to share and I've been writing and posting so little... here are a couple pictures of our new addition which we will hopefully be living in by next month.
 


Both Pictures are of the living room which extends from our current living room. To the right are two bedrooms, a bathroom and someday stairs. Dustin is busy putting in light fixtures and staining trim and doors. The painting is finished and the flooring should be going in next week.


For the record, making sausage links out of fresh intestines from the pig went way smoother than using store bought preserved natural intestines- which was so much of a pain that I gave up last time.
 





Bacon below. The pig we had was not super big, nor did it have a lot of fat. So we have some pretty thin belly slices to work with, but they should start off some wicked Minestrone. I used a dry rub and cured them for six days and then smoked them for a couple hours over applewood chips at about ten degrees, does that count as cold smoking?
 


Yesterday I finally got around to straining my garden tinctures and oils from the summer's harvest. I have enough of most the medicines that I won't need to make those same ones next year.
 


Blurry but... here they are, re- used glass droppers with back up half pints and pints behind. Tinctures: Calendula, Plantain, St Johns Wort, Spilanthes, California Poppy
Glycerites for the kids: Spilanthes, and a combo; California Poppy, Chamomile and Catnip.
Oils: Calendula, St Johns Wort, Chamomile

I am most proud of the St Johns Wort and Spilanthes, as they can be tricky to grow here. This is probably the fifth year I've grown St Johns Wort and only the second time I've gotten it to bloom, and it didn't bloom until late September, just before a hard freeze. I have never used St Johns Wort as an anti depressent although that is it's most known use these days. Instead I've used it as a topical pain reliever and it is one of those treatments that has amazing and immediate results.

I think of Spilanthes as our replacement for Echinacea Purpurea as it does not grow well here and most likely will not come back as a perennial as it does most places. The Spilanthes is not a perennial either but it flowers the first summer. I use it as a short term immune booster as I would Echinacea. For the record, an herbalist friend told my after the fact that Spilanthes does not extract well in Glycerine. Since I've already done it, I figure it will be an experiment. A good reminder to do my research more thoroughly. I have given the kids tinctures before, straight or in tea, but I will feel better about giving them the glycerites, hopefully it is sweet enough and if it isn't, there is always honey.

I have comfrey and Elecampene - Inula root in the fridge that I dug after the ground was frozen solid :)
I'll be making an oil with the comfrey as I think I may have accidentally thrown out the last fresh roots oil I made - but I learned that it heals external wounds crazy fast. The oils I'll be using for lotions and salves. 

We are gliding into winter seamlessly, although there is forever so much to still do. Lotion and Lip balm making are at the top of my list as we are all drying out with the wood stove running non stop. Soap making so that soap will be ready by Christmas for gifts. Other gifts for Christmas, candles to dip, toys to make, knitting, felting... Then there are goats to butcher so that the feed bill will drop. 

I struggle with my need to accomplish tasks and with my children's need for me to be "in the now" with them. We are sticking to a stricter school schedule which takes up a good chunk of the day. Between lessons and farm chores it seems like I go around in circles just making food, doing dishes and tidying up, and then when I finally get a chance to tackle a project the kids want me to play Peter Pan with them - the nerve right? Ha. 

I'm trying to play more, listen better, but it is a job I could never look back on and say I did it as well as I could.  We can always give more, put more in to what is most important. Children can never have enough of our love, our time and attention. I have been slowly letting go of my need to do blank; pick cranberries before the frost, harvest every last plant in the garden before the snow falls. It just isn't worth stressing about to the point that I tend to do. Instead I try to sit and watch, laugh and play.

5 comments:

Ashling said...

There are so many gifts you're giving your kids....I can pretty much guarantee they'll remember a mom who was incredibly interactive with them, and a childhood that was unique and adventurous.

Ginger David said...

It's so good to read a new update from your family! I am impressed with all of your herbal harvests and tinctures. We move in parallel paths sometimes, I'm on chapter three of Farmer Boy. I get a bit of my childhood back through theses books, it's a precious time with the kids that I treasure! Your addition looks beautiful, as does your green wall! I'm thrilled for you!

Tara said...

Wow, so much going on! I would like to start making my own medicines, oils and salves. This season I mostly dried herbs for teas. I did make a Yarrow tincture, though. Thanks for sharing your apothecary!

I know exactly what you mean about feeling like you don't give enough to your kids. It can be so hard to put aside that "one more thing" you so badly want to get done, and just be in the moment with a little one. It's something I'm struggling with, too!

Phoebe said...

Where did you get the St John's Wort? Did you buy it as a seed and transplant it in the summer, or did you get it as a plant? Inquiring minds (and those with black thumbs, lol) wish to know!

Emily said...

Phoebe, I bought the St Johns wort as seeds - I can't remember where I got them now, but I might have had to look a bit for a supplier. If you are interested in ordering some let me know and I'll go dig through my seed stash. Otherwise, the nursery out in front of Alaska Feed (White Rose farm or something similar?) had six packs a couple years in a row, but when I bought them and planted them they didn't grow as well, they were root bound and never took off well. The ones i've started from seed have done better. Give them a hot sunny spot - probably not in the greenhouse, but high sun. Best wishes, Emily